• Should you take online or in person cla...

Is face-to-face tuition or online tuition better?


If a teacher had been told in 1960 that it would one day be possible to teach without the students and the teacher being in the same classroom, they would never have believed it. After a technological revolution and the rise of the Internet, online tuition has become possible.

Online tuition has grown a lot in recent years but is nowhere near the number of face-to-face lessons there are a year. Why is online tuition still so popular? What can online tuition contribute to the education sector?

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Advantages of online tuition

  • Time flexibility: Online tuition does not require moving or renting a space, so it is much easier to combine the schedules of tutors and students.
  • Cheaper: Online tuition is usually cheaper than in person private tuition, since there are no expenses to cover, such as: transport, classroom rental, electricity, etc...
  • You can choose your classroom: Whether you are a student or a tutor, the advantage of being able to connect from home or from the library is that you can choose where to hold your class and adapt your space to your needs.
  • Technology: Tools such as Classgap allow online tuition to be as effective and efficient as possible. The implementation of these platforms means that we are constantly evolving our technological knowledge and online lessons are becoming more and more efficient.
  • Priorities when choosing a tutor change: In face-to-face private tuition, one of the priorities when finding a tutor is proximity. However, when you opt for online tuition, this is no longer a criteria when it comes to finding tutors. With online tuition, we only have to make sure that we like the tutor and that they suit our educational needs.

Disadvantages of online tuition

  • Socialisation: Although the experience of online tuition is generally positive, most agree that some of the social interaction between student and tutor is lost through the screen.
  • Distraction: The virtual environment gives us multiple possibilities and advantages when giving or receiving private tuition, but it is also true that both students and tutors highlight that it is easier to get distracted with online tuition.
  • Requires good technology: Although access to the Internet and technology is widespread in today's society, it is also true that not everyone has the necessary resources. In order to have a good experience with online tuition, it is necessary to have high quality resources.
  • Screen overuse: Nowadays we spend most of our day glued to a screen, whether for work or studies. Adding online tuition to your day-to-day life therefore requires adding time in front of a screen and not being able to disconnect from the Internet.
  • The learner may not take the class as seriously: There is a prejudice associated with online tuition which is that it is not as important and is of lower quality. This may result in the learner not giving enough importance to the class they are receiving.

Advantages of face-to-face classes

  • Closer bond: In person lessons allow the tutor and student to bond, which directly favours the student's academic results. The direct "face-to-face" environment without being separated by a screen makes for a closer and more immediate relationship.
  • No technology gap: The technology gap is the main disadvantage of online tuition. Not everyone has access to a good computer and a fast and stable internet connection, so there is inequality. Equality opportunity prevails in face-to-face tuition.
  • Motivation: In-person private tuition requires a kind of routine that helps to motivate students to take the class and to feel connected to the knowledge that is being imparted.
  • No technical problems: As there is no technology involved, the quality of the class does not depend on the quality of the internet connection or the quality of the computer.
  • Procrastination is avoided: The Internet is an open window to knowledge, but, beware, it is also a source of distraction. One of the main advantages of face-to-face tuition over online tuition is that procrastination and distraction are considerably reduced.

Disadvantages of face-to-face classes

  • Less availability: The number of students that can be taught by a single tutor is smaller. This is a disadvantage for the tutor because fewer classes mean less income.
  • Travel time: The time lost in transport is considerable, especially if a tutor has many students and each one is in a different part of the city. This can usually be overcome by only accepting students in your area.
  • It limits the possibilities: The Internet is huge and students from anywhere in the world can be put in contact with tutors from all over the globe. If we limit ourselves to finding tutors in our area, our choice becomes very limited.
  • Attendance and fixed timetable: There is much less flexibility, as the schedules of a face-to-face tutor are much more restricted than those of an online tutor.
  • Cost: The price of a face-to-face class is usually more than that of an online lesson. Good tutors who have been doing this for a long time know that if they want to make a living from private tuition, they have to live on a small number of students who value their work highly.

Is face-to-face tuition or online tuition better?

There is no clear answer. It depends on what you need the lessons for. If you need intensive lessons to prepare for your GCSEs or A Levels, for example, face-to-face classes could be a better choice as they allow for better concentration and routine.

If, on the other hand, you are learning something for purely leisure purposes or you are reinforcing knowledge in a field you have already more or less mastered, online tuition is a great choice. You will not feel that you are investing more time, effort or money than you should.

To find out what is best for you, evaluate your situation, be honest with yourself and think about whether an online tutor would work for you or whether you need a human presence to get serious about your studies.

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